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  • Neil: Hello. Welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Neil

  • and with me is Mike. Hello, Mike.

  • Mike: Hello.

  • Neil: Now, today we're talking about someone you

  • might have read about in history books: Winston Churchillthe British prime minister during

  • the Second World War who is well-known throughout the world.

  • Winston Churchill: We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight

  • on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets. We shall fight

  • in the hills. We shall never surrender!

  • Mike: Ah, never surrender, in other words, never

  • submit to your enemy. I remember reading about this speech that Churchill gave in June 1940,

  • when France was being invaded by the forces of Nazi Germany.

  • Neil: Yes, and this shows the spirit of this very

  • famous leader still admired to this day. So much so that here in the UK we are marking

  • the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill's death.

  • Mike: He was a controversial figure wasn't he, Neil?

  • Controversialit means people have divided opinion about him.

  • Neil: Yes he was quite a controversial figure. You'll

  • learn more about him in this programme as well as some new words. But first, as ever,

  • I'd like to ask you a quiz question, Mike.

  • Mike: Okay, I'm ready!

  • Neil: Do you know a lot about Churchill?

  • Mike: I think I do, yes.

  • Neil: Okay. We'll see about that. Which of these

  • facts about Winston Churchill is false? Now, is it:

  • a) He won the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • b) He tried three times before passing exams to the Military Academy.

  • c) He was a writer and a painter.

  • Mike: I think it's (a). I think he won a Nobel Prize

  • but I think it was Literature, not Peace.

  • Neil: Well, we'll see at the end of the programme.

  • Now, let's talk about Churchill.

  • Mike: You know what, Neil, many people think Churchill

  • has a lot to teach some of today's politicians. He was very determined, in other words, he

  • was persistent. When Churchill believed in an idea, he didn't give up easily.

  • Neil: Yes. The Mayor of London Boris Johnson sees

  • another good quality in Britain's wartime leader. He says there's one thing today's

  • politicians do that Churchill didn't. What was it? How did he deal with issues?

  • Boris Johnson: It's an illusion to think that he was a guy

  • who skated over the issues. He was deeply immersed in all the detail and all the technicality

  • and that helped him to get the right answer.

  • Mike: Ah, Churchill didn't 'skate over' the issues.

  • 'To skate over' means to avoid dealing with something. Churchill studied the issues in

  • detail

  • Neil: … and it helped him to get things right,

  • according to Boris Johnson. One example is that Churchill actually went to Germany in

  • the 1930s to assess the situation in the country first hand.

  • Mike: Well, Nazi Germany was defeated and Churchill

  • had a role in that. But there were other things he got wrong. He misjudged many situations.

  • Misjudged, in other words, he formed a wrong opinion about them.

  • Neil: That's right! The historian Nigel Knight,

  • a leading academic at Cambridge University, wrote a book about Churchill. He lists some

  • of the mistakes made by the wartime leader throughout his political career. Now, let's

  • listen. How does he describe Churchill's character?

  • Dr Nigel Knight: Churchill was fundamentally flawed. So was

  • his military strategy: Gallipoli in World War One, which was replicated in the Norwegian,

  • North African and the soft underbelly of Europe campaigns during the World War Two. It was

  • his economic strategy as chancellor in the 1920s, the return to the gold standards, his

  • attitude towards India and the Indians, and indeed his post war 51-55 ministry, which

  • was very lacklustre and very poor indeed.

  • Mike: Nigel Knight calls Churchill 'flawed', it

  • means he had a weakness in his character. And Churchill didn't get it right all the

  • time.

  • Neil: No. He occupied different posts in government

  • and sometimes he didn't get his strategy, which means his plan of action, right. His

  • strategy in some military campaigns ended up in disaster.

  • Mike: And his strategy regarding the British economy

  • may have actually contributed to a period of economic crisis known as the Great Depression.

  • And when he became prime minister again, in the 50s, his government wasn't very good,

  • was it Neil?

  • Neil: No. Not according to the Cambridge academic

  • Dr Nigel Knight. He called it 'lacklustre', which means dull, uninspiring.

  • Mike: Well, we shall remember him mostly for his

  • speeches in World War Two.

  • Neil: Well, we're running out of time so I'll go

  • back to our quiz question.

  • Mike: You mentioned three facts about Winston Churchill

  • and you said one of them was false, Neil.

  • Neil: Yes, and the options were:

  • a) He won the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • b) He tried three times before passing exams to the Military Academy.

  • c) He was a writer and a painter.

  • Mike: And I said I thought he won the Nobel Literature

  • Prize, not the Peace Prize.

  • Neil: And you were absolutely right! Churchill did

  • win a Nobel Prize but it was for Literature because he wrote books about History. He was

  • also a possible candidate for the 1945 Nobel Peace Prize but didn't win. Well, that's it

  • for this programme but let's just remind ourselves of some of the words we've used today.

  • Mike: They were: surrender, controversial, determined,

  • skate over, misjudged, flawed, strategy and lackluster.

  • Neil: Thanks, Mike. Well, that's it for today. Do

  • go to www.bbclearningenglish.com to find more 6 Minute English programmes. Until next time.

  • Goodbye!

  • Mike: Bye!

Neil: Hello. Welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Neil

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B1 UK TOEIC churchill winston churchill winston nobel prize

BBC 6 Minute English_March 12, 2015 - The two sides of Churchill

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    Adam Huang posted on 2015/03/18
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